A Brain Aneurysm survivor learning that, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
— E.M. Forester
Friday, March 22, 2013
Can you relate?
Our "Buddy", he can relate (hehehe)
Another very difficult thing in recovery, for me (formally a 'people person') has been "relating" to other people again! Part of this is a brain injury. I remember after leaving the hospital, I had wonderful friends and family who had lived through my nightmare with me! We could all relate in our own unique way! In my head, they had each other but I "craved" somebody to relate to, a friend to understand me!!! I attended a women's brain injury support group, and while we had many similar "issues" to live with, most of them were my parent's age and in a different stage of life! In my mind, it was different if you hadn't just had brain surgery! Specifically, if you hadn't just lived through a ruptured aneurysm, I had convinced myself you couldn't relate to me, or I to you! Facebook didn't exist "back then" so I started my blog hoping some poor soul would stumble on it who desperately needed to relate to people again, like I did!!! I remember the first time I had hope. Hope I could 'relate' again happened while watching a documentary on Bob Woodruff. Finally, somebody who was 'relatable' as he relearned everything over again, including how to walk after near death and "major brain surgery"! He was the speaker at one of my first Brain Injury Conferences. It was at that moment I began to have hope I would find others who could truly understand me and what I had lived through!! While many people suffering from TBI had to convince doctors, friends, and family that they had an "invisible disability", mine was very obvious!! So, I spent all my remaining energy trying to convince people I DID NOT have one, and believe me I tried everything!!! I wasted a lot of energy trying to act exactly how I remembered before my aneurysm. It was exhausting, and practically impossible if you knew me (or were specialized in rehabilitation!) Of course, eventually in my desperate attempt to be understood I found (she found me) a young aneurysm survivor friend through the Brain Aneurysm Foundation webpage! I think this is when true "healing" began!!! Eventually, as time passed and I relearned more things and began to embrace/accept my new reality, relating to people again seemed a little easier, MOST days. Thankfully now, there is a wonderful bunch of people who have all survived aneurysms online. I confess I spend a lot of time online now!! A few of them even live reasonably close to me! It is much easier for me to see past my "aneurysm bubble". I have incredible friends each with their own unique struggles and trials, many of which now seem "worse than mine", although my husband would disagree. I think this keeps us all moving forward (the idea that someone has it worse than you, although you should never, ever compare yourself to others)!! For me, being able to relate to people (my own age, with or without TBI) again, made me feel more like a human being, or the "old me" and less like an unexplainable anomaly (but let's face it, I was always a little bit odd anyway, hehehe). I like this fitting quote by Jodi Picoult : "All any of us wanted, really, was to know that we counted. That someone else's life would not have been as rich without us here."